INDIANAPOLIS – In a thrilling final round, Mike Castellana in his nitrous-injected Al-Anabi Racing Camaro claimed a noteworthy runner-up finish against veteran Rickie Smith at the previous NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event in Norwalk, Ohio. Now, the New Yorker says he is confident that his team and his 200-mph classic hot rod have what it takes to win at the prestigious 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Aug. 28-Sept. 2, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“Our plan is to win the championship,” Castellana said. “To do that we need to qualify No. 1 and win most of them. It’s too late in the season to make any mistakes. One bad showing and the Championship is over for us.”
So far in the 2013 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, Castellana has posted two No. 1 qualifying spots (Gainesville and Houston) and is currently tied in fourth place with fellow Al-Anabi Racing teammate Von Smith. While the Pro Mod vet has consecutive runner-up finishes in Indy, Castellana is still looking to claim his illusive first win at the Big Go and join a legendary roster of drivers who’ve won the tradition-rich event.
“We’ve run great two years in a row in Indy, and I know we are capable of winning,” Castellana said. “We feel good and ready for the challenge. It’s always a very tough field of drivers. You are racing the best of the best.”
Castellana says that this season has had its share of drama and when drivers pull into the famed Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend, fans can expect to see some amazing runs at a fantastic facility. The event is the seventh of 10 races in 2013 for NHRA's popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.
“We’ve faced some pretty demanding challenges this season,” Castellana said. “We started the season with a new car and have just remained focused on getting it to run consistently fast, and I think we accomplished that the last few races.”
With only three races remaining in the Pro Mod season, Castellana, along with a slew of championship contenders, will be laboring for critical positioning at the world’s most prestigious drag race.
“No matter where you are in points, everyone comes to Indy looking to do a good job at this legendary event,” Castellana said. “Come race day, all I can do is my best and we’ve come pretty close back-to-back. I’m also grateful for our sponsors Al-Anabi and Western Beef for giving us the resources to accomplish our goals in racing and my team to make it actually happen.”
Other top drivers who enter the event as pre-race favorites are series points leader Smith, defending world champ Troy Coughlin, Von Smith, Kenny Lang, Mike Janis and Danny Rowe.
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’63 Corvettes, ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs and ’68 Firebirds as well as late-model cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
At the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals fans will enjoy a horsepower-charged Labor Day celebration with thrilling drag racing, spectacular fireworks shows, a special Track Walk prior to Monday’s pre-race ceremonies, fan-favorite jet cars and wheelstanders, skydivers and more. An incredible assortment of vintage hot rods will be on display in a special Hot Rod Junction Car Corral and numerous autograph sessions with the most prolific stars of the sport will be featured as well. The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, contested annually since 1955. It is the only major motorsports event to be contested on Labor Day.
NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 30; at 2 and 5:30 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 31 and continue on Sun., Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. The first round of Pro Mod eliminations begins on Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. Eliminations will continue on Monday, Sept. 2 at approximately 2:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, please call NHRA Ticketing at (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRAtix.com.
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NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES FACT SHEET
CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
WHAT: Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Other racing series showcased during this event include the NHRA Mello Yello Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Series.
WHERE: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Brownsburg, Ind. The track is located at 10267 East U.S. Highway 136, Indianapolis, IN 46234
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 660 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north
WHEN: Wednesday through Monday, Aug. 28- Sept. 2.
FRIDAY, Aug. 30
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 5:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, Aug. 31
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 1
Qualifying at 2 p. m.; first round of eliminations will begin at 5 p.m.
MONDAY, Sept. 2 - Pre-race ceremonies, 9:30 a.m.
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES eliminations continue on Monday afternoon.
2012 WINNER: Brad Brand
TRACK RECORDS: 5.830 sec. by Eric Dillard, Sept, ’11; 256.21 mph by Troy Coughlin, Sept. ‘12.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.772 sec. by Melanie Troxel, June. ’11, Englishtown; 258.71 mph by Troxel, June ’11, Englishtown.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRATix.com.
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NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES POINTS STANDINGS
(Following the sixth of 10 races; victories in parentheses)
1. Rickie Smith, King, N.C., IDG Chevy Camaro (2) 474
2. Troy Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, Jegs.com Chevy Corvette (1) 402
3. Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe, Manit., Summit Racing Chevy Corvette 369
4t. Mike Castellana, Muttontown, N.Y., Al-Anabi Chevy Camaro 357
4t. Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., Dr. Moon / Al-Anabi Chevy Camaro (1) 357
6. Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., Valvoline Chevy Camaro (1) 343
7. Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills, Calif., Agave Underground Tequila Chevy Camaro 341
8. Clint Satterfield, Albuquerque, BAC Enterprises Pontiac Firebird (1) 311
9. Chip King, Semora, N.C., Strutmasters.com Dodge Daytona 308
10. Pete Farber, Baldwinville, Mass., CRC Brakeleen Dodge Daytona 282